The rate of obesity and disease in the West continues to grow each year. Startling statistics are released every week illustrating the state of health for most Westerners. One of the main culprits causing this state of ill health are the foods we eat and our lifestyles.
Sadly, many people who think they're eating health simply aren't. In fact, some foods that many people consider to be healthy are anything but healthy. Often times it's not the food itself but some of the ingredients are the way it's prepared. Learn about the ten foods that many consider to be healthy but aren't always the healthiest choice.
With the heat waves on in many parts of the country there's no doubt we all want a cold treat to cool us off now and again. But before you buy that frozen yogurt take a closer look.
When you think of yogurt, live active cultures that are helpful to the body immediately come to mind. But when it comes to frozen yogurt there are most times no live, active cultures. The processing has heated the product first, killing off all live cultures that are beneficial to health.
The other problem with eating frozen yogurt is that people think they can over indulge in this treat because it's 'healthy.' This leads to overeating and an excessive consumption of calories.
When you do want a sweet, cold treat try to limit the amount of frozen yogurt you consume, use healthy toppings such as sliced fruits and buy a product that uses minimal processing and still contains live, active cultures.
I can't remember just how many people I've met who are concerned with their health that turn around and order a diet soda mistakenly thinking they're doing their body good with this drink. Diet sodas, while low in calories, are not only devoid of any nutrition, they also contain artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are being shown to lead to health problems with ongoing consumption.
One of the biggest health problems with diet sodas and artificial sweeteners is metabolic syndrome which in turn raises your risk for developing diabetes type 2, coronary heart disease and having a stroke.
Instead of choosing a diet soda, opt for fresh brewed tea, seltzer water, or just pure water. Pure water is the healthiest choice of all.
I remember when smoothies first became popular. Everyone thought they were the best kept health secret - and many of the smoothies out there are. However, some of these supposedly healthy smoothies are loaded with a whole lot of what our bodies don't need, namely sugar.
Many of these drinks do contain the healthy fruits and vegetables but also have high amounts of sugar. This will cause blood sugar levels to spike and fall which is related to acquiring type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Both of these conditions lead to other, more serious health problems.
It's best to consume smoothies that don't have fillers such as ice cream or milk and instead opt for smoothies made almost entirely of fruits, veggies, and other all natural ingredients such as sunflower seeds and coconut.
These wholesome snacks can be ideal for healthy snacking however, many of these trail mixes contain ingredients that aren't so healthy. Oftentimes trail mixes add in sugar to coat the fruits and salt to coat the nuts. Too much of either of these are simply not healthy.
Look for trail mixes that don't add sugar or uses salted nuts. Better yet, make your own with organic, raw nuts and seeds and freshly dehydrated fruits.
Hopefully most of you now understand the hype around the no-fat, low-fat eating. There are good fats and there are bad fats so cutting out all fats is simply a bad choice.
It's important to eat your share of healthy fats while avoiding unhealthy fats. Many of these low-fat, no-fat foods are loaded with artificial flavors and lots of sugar. Again, you want to avoid eating too much sugar which can lead to diabetes type 2.
When we think of healthy foods, granola is definitely one that comes to mind. But it's time to reconsider just how healthy that store bought granola really is. While granolas contain a number of healthy ingredients particularly rich in potassium, protein and fiber some mixes contain a high amount of sugar.
Be sure to read the labels when it comes to choosing granola and avoid any with corn syrup or added sugars. Watch out for added sugar in the form of yogurt coated fruits or nuts as well as chocolate chips and the like.
Opt for granolas that use only small amounts of honey or maple syrup as the source of sweetness.
When you're at your local bakery or grocery store baked goods section and you peruse the section of muffins you undoubtedly look upon the bran muffin as the healthy muffin choice. And while bran muffins usually do contain fiber the other added ingredients may not be so healthy.
Many bran muffins are loaded with sugar and bad fats that cancel out the goodness of the fiber. If you really want a bran muffin consider baking them yourself using applesauce and honey as natural, healthy sweeteners.
Once reserved for only the most serious athletes, energy bars can be seen in the hands of just about everyone today. From our children to ourselves we grab an 'energy bar' to ward off hunger or for a quick snack on the go.
The problem with energy bars is that many of them have added sugars and other artificial ingredients. When it comes to these handy, on the go snacks be sure to read the labels of the bars before you make a selection. A Clif Bar should be used if you're hiking up and down a cliff, not working at your desk.
Look for only all natural ingredients and no added sugars or artificial ingredients of any kind.
Low-Fat Peanut Butter
Again, the low-fat, no-fat craze has led to the creation of a low-fat peanut butter when the original version was fine. The fats found naturally in peanut butter (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) are actually good for you so there's no need to reduce them.
In fact, the ingredients you should be avoiding in peanut butter are the added sugars and hydrogenated oils. Check labels to be sure your peanut butter doesn't have these unhealthy ingredients. Because of concerns of aflaxtoxins and mold with peanuts, try almond butter for a healthy alternative to peanut butter. Most people can't tell the difference unless they're real peanut butter connoisseurs.
This vegetarian option to the burger can be delicious and nutritious if it's the right one. Many of the food manufacturers cashing in on the health food band wagon use many additives and fillers in their veggie burgers rendering the burger unhealthy.
When you look for your veggie burger be sure the vegetables are at the top of the list and the fillers such as yeast extract, cornstarch, and gums are not on the list at all or at the very least at the bottom.
No matter what foods you choose to eat it's wise to read the labels before you make the purchase. Any food manufacturer can and will advertise that their food product is the healthy choice but it's up to you to be sure those statements are true. Know what ingredients to look for and which ones to avoid.
About the Author:
Dr. Josh Axe is an author, a radio host, and a physician. Since starting his online health movement in 2008, Dr. Axe has helped thousands of people transform their health and life through his strategies in advanced nutrition, burst training, weight loss, superfoods, healthy recipes and anti-aging.
He released The Real Food Diet Cookbook in 2010 and his radio show is heard by tens of thousands of people each week on the air and online. He's also a highly sought after speaker and conference leader in communities, churches and businesses.
He's a go-to physician for professional and Olympic athletes. He traveled to London as a member of the Wellness Advisory Council for USA Wrestling and Weight Lifting team.
Mark Dilworth, BA, PES